Krystian Zimerman stands as one of the most sensitive and exacting concert pianists to emerge in the latter half of the 20th century. His extensive recordings as an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist cover a broad range of repertoire from the classical period to contemporary music.
Initially a student of his pianist father, and later, Andrzej Jasinski and Artur Rubinstein, Zimerman demonstrated his nuanced and distinctive technique at a young age. He was already concertizing as a very young boy, and was not yet 20 years old when he took first prize in the 1975 International Chopin Competition in Warsaw. Early in his career he established a reputation for maintaining dauntingly high personal artistic standards, being very selective in undertaking projects and concert engagements. He also actively sought skills as a piano builder, gaining invaluable knowledge of the instrument's mechanics.
Zimerman has performed concertos with the world's finest orchestras and conductors, including the premiere of Lutoslawski's Piano Concerto, which was composed for and dedicated to him. In 1999, Zimerman personally selected an ensemble of young musicians, creating the Polish Festival Orchestra to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the death of Chopin. He led the ensemble through rigorous rehearsals of Chopin's two piano concertos, developing a highly idiomatic sound that brought out intricate subtleties from Chopin's oft-maligned orchestral scores and illuminated a new level of interplay between soloist and orchestra in these works.
Zimerman's first recording for Deutsche Grammophon, a Chopin recital, was released in 1977. Since then, he has recorded the complete piano concertos of Beethoven and Brahms, works by Schubert, Liszt, Grieg, Bartók, and Szymanowski, Debussy's preludes, and chamber music by Grazyna Bacewicz. The 2017 release of two late Schubert sonatas marked his first solo album in more than 25 years.
Zimerman always tours with his own Steinway, the difficulties of which make his appearances in certain countries very rare. However, in late 2014, he and Paavo Järvi presented Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Shanghai Symphony, and he also appeared in Taipei and Bangkok. In the 2017-2018 season, Zimerman collaborated with Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic to celebrate the Leonard Bernstein centenary.